Does Drinking Water Help You Sleep Better at Night?

It’s an hour before bedtime and you’re thirsty…but you don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night to pee. The ultimate question here is this: does drinking water help you sleep better at night?

By Nicole Gleichmann

May 4th, 2022

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Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night from snoring or a dry throat? These can both be symptoms of dehydration, where having just a bit of water before bedtime could help you sleep through the night. On the flip side, there are those of us who need to stop drinking far before bedtime to avoid waking up time and again at night to run to the bathroom.

These two examples beg the question, does drinking water help you sleep better at night? Or will it make your chances of getting plenty of shuteye worse? By the end of this article you will know the answer to these questions, allowing you to make the best choice when it comes to hydration and sleep.

The Benefits of Drinking Water at Night

Proper hydration is important. In fact, drinking enough water is more critical to survival than eating enough food, as proven by the difference in how long a human can survive without water than without food (about one week without water and three weeks without food).

When we don’t consume enough water and other liquids throughout the day, we can feel sluggish and experience mental and physical fatigue, brain fog, memory difficulties, and a poor mood. And if we go to sleep without having had enough water throughout the day, we can experience symptoms of dehydration.

Dehydration and its Impact on Sleep Quality

When it comes to sleep, even mild dehydration can disrupt sleep quality and quantity. This is particularly true for those who breathe through their mouths at night, sleep in a room that’s hot and dry, or suffer from certain health conditions.

As an example, take snoring. Did you know that people who are dehydrated are more likely to snore than those who aren’t? Snoring can negatively impact the quality of sleep of both the person snoring and anyone who shares a room with them.

In addition to increasing the severity of snoring, going to bed even mildly dehydrated can increase your chances of the following at night:

  • Dry mouth
  • Waking up thirsty
  • Leg cramps and other muscle cramps
  • Headaches

Plus, your level of hydration at night can do more than just disrupt your sleep; the consequences of nighttime dehydration can carry over to the following day. If you fall asleep without drinking enough water throughout the previous day, the next morning you are more likely to experience:

  • Morning sluggishness and brain fog
  • Memory and learning difficulties
  • Low energy
  • Emotional distress
  • Poor performance
  • Headaches

In order to avoid the above symptoms of dehydration during the night and in the morning, it can be beneficial to have some water before you go to sleep. This is particularly true if you have had alcohol or exercised at night as both of these can dehydrate you.

The Dangers of Drinking Water at Night

While it’s important to try and avoid nighttime dehydration, that doesn’t mean that the best solution is to chug a few glasses of water right before you go to bed. When you drink water before sleeping, you’re likely to wake up during the night with an urge to go to the bathroom.

Waking up in the middle of the night to urinate is a particularly severe problem for some. While waking up once a night or less might not disrupt your sleep too severely, when you find yourself having trouble falling back asleep or waking up more than once each night, it can lead to disturbed sleep.

Nocturia: Going to the Bathroom Frequently Throughout the Night

Nocturia is an increased need to urinate during the night. It can be caused by a disfunction in hormone production that disrupts the body’s tendency to slow down urine production at night, or by lifestyle factors like drinking too much too late in the day.

Some people are at a heightened risk of nocturia, including those on certain medications or those with certain medical conditions. Additionally, the risk of struggling with nocturia increases as you grow older.

When you don’t get enough sleep at night, your mood and cognitive function the following day are likely to suffer. And if the sleep deprivation becomes a regular thing, it can lead to health consequences, such as an increased risk of depression, obesity, and heart disease.

How Much Water Should You Drink, and When?

If you want to avoid both nighttime dehydration and waking up in the middle of the night to pee, what is the best way to do it? The answer is simple: drink more water throughout the day and don’t drink more than a glass of water within a couple of hours of bedtime.

What is the ideal water intake? This is a topic that’s hotly debated amongst experts, and is likely to vary based on your age, sex, activity level, and more. The best tip is to always drink water when thirsty or when you notice symptoms of dehydration and keep water on you throughout the day to make staying hydrated simple.

Additionally, you should try to not drink caffeine late in the day and avoid excess alcohol consumption as both of these can dehydrate you and increase urination at night, a double whammy when it comes to sleep quality and overall health.

Final Thoughts

In order to get a good night’s sleep, try drinking plenty of water throughout the day. This decreases the risks of falling asleep dehydrated or waking up in the middle of the night needing to pee, allowing you to wake up in the morning feeling rested and rejuvenated.